Memorial Safety Testing Information

Headstone & Memorial Safety Inspections

Information, Advice & Frequently asked Questions (July 2016)

We are required to carry out this work by the Health & Safety Executive following a series of incidents across the country where people were injured or killed by falling memorials. Sadly, there are also instances of children being killed by falling memorials whilst playing in cemeteries. Marham Parish Council has a duty to look after the safety of visitors to the cemeteries.

Who are the Health and Safety Executive?

The Health and Safety Executive is a central government enforcement agency and is responsible not only for health and safety in the workplace, but also for health and safety in public places.

Which cemeteries are affected?

The headstones and memorials in all cemeteries controlled by Marham Parish Council will be inspected on a rolling 5-year programme. We are responsible for: ·

Marham Cemetery ·

Marham Church Cemetery (closed)

Who will carry out the tests?

All testing will be carried out by suitably trained personnel of Marham Parish Council ensuring that all work is carried out with due respect.

What will the safety tests involve?

Each memorial will firstly be given a visual check and hand test to assess the condition. National Association of Monumental Masons now recommends that testing is carried out at a force of 250N, equivalent to 25Kg, as per revised British Standard BS8415:2005 A2:2012 Monuments within Burial Grounds – Specification. Testing commenced at 250N/25kg in 2004. Testing is carried out on a rolling 5-year programme  in accordance with NAMM recommendations. Any memorial which fails the test for stability will be deemed unsafe. A record will be kept of the date of inspection and of any action that is taken.

What happens if a memorial is unsafe?

Where a memorial is found to be unsafe Marham Parish Council has a responsibility to ensure that it is made safe immediately after testing. Any memorial which is deemed unsafe will, temporarily, be made secure. One or more wooden stakes will be driven into the ground immediately adjacent to the memorial and a strand of tensioned plastic strapping will be secured around the stake(s) and the memorial. A notice stating that the memorial is unsafe will be attached to the back of the memorial. A certificate stating the reasons the memorial is unsafe will be completed and forwarded to the deed-holder of the grave at the last known address on our records. The deed-holder of the grave will be advised that the memorial requires making safe in accordance with NAMM guidelines.

A list of failed headstones will also be found on the Marham Parish Council Website.

My memorial has been staked and banded. Why wasn’t I contacted first?

Once a memorial is found to be unsafe it is necessary to make it secure immediately. On completion of the inspection we will attempt to contact the deed-holder of each grave where the memorial is found to be unsafe. If you have not received a Notification of Unsafe Memorial, it may be because we do not have a record of your current address. Notices of memorial testing will be placed in each cemetery to be tested 4 weeks prior to commencement.

Will headstones or memorials be removed from a cemetery?

No headstone or memorial will be removed from any cemetery.

What should I do if my memorial is declared unsafe?

Please contact Councillor Dave Hawkins (01760 338670) We will be able to provide you with information on the reason the memorial is unsafe and provide you with a list of NAMM approved monumental masons who will be able to assist you with re-erecting your memorial safely.

Under no circumstances should you try to re-erect the memorial yourself; this could be very dangerous and may result in serious injury to yourself and/or to members of the public. Only approved monumental masons can carry out work on memorials in Marham Parish Council cemeteries.

Who is responsible for re-fixing unsafe memorials?

Deed-holders of graves or their next of kin, once a Transfer of Grave Ownership has been completed, are responsible for fixing the memorial back in place and in a safe condition.

Who is responsible for keeping memorials repaired & in a safe condition?

Again, the deed-holder or their next of kin are responsible for keeping the memorial repaired and in a safe condition. The Council has the obligation to make a memorial safe if it is found to be in an unsafe condition, but this does not include repairing it.

If I have insurance cover on my memorial will the costs of repair be covered?

Please check with your monumental mason or your insurer to find out.

Will my headstone be subject to further tests in the future?

Yes, all memorials will be tested on a rolling 5 year programme. Additionally, if any headstone appears to be unstable it may be tested and made safe at any time. We hope that this will have answered your questions and concerns; if you have any specific questions please contact Councillor Dave Hawkins (01760 338670).

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